The European Football Fans’ Congress meeting in Istanbul today unanimously called for the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
The Congress features almost 500 delegates from 32 European countries and claims to represent three million fans. The call was confirmed by Football Supporters of Europe co-ordinator Daniela Wurbs to SBI and the organisation later released a media statement.
The action comes as the latest blow to Blatter following the release of court documents showing he knew of millions in bribes paid to former FIFA executive colleagues by the organisation’s marketing partner ISL to secure World Cup broadcast rights.
Blatter has said the payments were not illegal at the time, and added in a weekend interview that he was unaware of them until after the collapse of ISL in 2001. Former president Joao Havelange, 96, and Ricardo Teixeira, until recently in charge of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, were both named as having accepted kickbacks worth tens of millions of dollars by a Swiss court.
The two Brazilians – Teixeira is Havelange’s former son-in-law – were long suspected of involvement in corrupt activities during their time on the Executive Committee but the scale of the money they received over an eight-year period was confirmed with the release of the Swiss court documents. The fans’ congress is not alone in calling for Blatter to step down with several others, including the head of the German Football League Reinhard Rauball, saying Blatter should remove himself from FIFA.
Football Federation Australia has been non-committal however, telling SBI they would “continue to play a positive role in supporting any reforms that improve the governance and reputation of FIFA,” adding “FFA representatives will continue to advocate for review and reform within FIFA and AFC forums, where Australia has a strong and respected voice.”